The UK cit­i­zen­ship test

The Jewish Chronicle - - FEATURES -

The Bri­tish Is­raeli

Si­mon Pos­ner, 36, was born in the UK but moved to Is­rael when he was a baby. He re­turned to Bri­tain to study and he has been a North Lon­don res­i­dent for two years.

He says: “I don’t feel the need to know about pol­i­tics that much. There’s the Houses of Par­lia­ment and the House of Lords. That’s all I know. But it’s im­por­tant to know about the cul­ture I’m liv­ing in. That’s some­thing I’m al­ways ea­ger to learn about.”

The re­sults: Fail

Si­mon scored a dis­ap­point­ing 17 out of 24. He got most of the po­lit­i­cal ques­tions wrong. Not only did he trip up on those the oth­ers got wrong, he was the only one who er­ro­neously thought it was not pos­si­ble for a po­lit­i­cal can­di­date to win a con­stituency de­spite win­ning less than half of the votes cast. Like Chan­tal, he wrongly thought the party with the most votes forms the gov­ern­ment (rather than the party with the most MPs elected into the House of Com­mons). He thought the Cabi­net met monthly and that the UK birth rate was at an all-time high in 2002 — which is false. But he did know what the role of the EU’s Coun­cil of Min­is­ters was. “I think it was more of an ed­u­cated guess,” he ad­mits.

His re­ac­tion: “I did OK. I did my best. Prob­a­bly if I had more time to think about my an­swers I may have got a bet­ter score.”

Our ex­per­i­ment proves that whereas the av­er­age Jewish-com­mu­nity mem­ber may not know the in­tri­ca­cies of how pol­i­tics work in the UK, they do know where Cock­ney is spo­ken (Lon­don), that an­other name for the Church of Eng­land is the Angli­can Church, and that Re­mem­brance Day com­mem­o­rates the me­mory of those who died dur­ing the war.

Ev­ery­one knew what the Grand Na­tional was, and that it is not com­pul­sory to per­form mil­i­tary ser­vice. They also knew the cur­rent heir to the throne was the Prince of Wales.

Jane, Leonard and even Si­mon were aware that dur­ing the 1950s Bri­tain set up bus-driver re­cruit­ment cen­tres in the West Indies, from their knowl­edge of the hit TV com­edy On The Buses, al­though Chan­tal’s me­mory did not stretch back that far.

All the can­di­dates knew the coun­tries from where Jews mi­grated to es­cape per­se­cu­tion be­tween 1880 and 1910. Th­ese were Poland, Ukraine and Be­larus. Their an­ces­tors may have all come from th­ese coun­tries, but ac­cord­ing to the test they are, for the most part, fully in­te­grated in the Bri­tish way of life.

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